Skip to main content


Mitigating hail risks: Minimizing damage to auto dealership inventory

Across Canada, the increasing frequency and severity of hailstorms can result in substantial damage to property and vehicles, leading to significant financial losses for car dealerships.
Cars parked in row on outdoor parking

Across Canada, the increasing frequency and severity of hailstorms can result in substantial damage to property and vehicles, leading to significant financial losses for car dealerships. It is crucial for car dealerships to stay informed about local weather conditions and adopt a proactive approach to safeguarding their inventory from these destructive storms.

What to know about hail

Hail is a type of solid precipitation that forms when water vapor in updrafts reaches a freezing point. Hailstones can be as small as peas or as large as softballs, which can cause injury and serious damage. The average hailstorm lasts only five minutes, but the damage it can cause can translate to billions of dollars each year.

The frequency, intensity, and distribution of hailstorms varies widely from year-to-year and the impact is local. A storm that unleashes havoc in one area might leave property undamaged half a kilometer away.

How to minimize hail damage to your property

  • Sign up for weather alerts so you have time to protect your property. Most smartphone weather apps will send you notifications when severe weather is coming. Make sure you have notifications turned on. It will tell you as soon as possible when hail might be coming and give you time to protect your property.
  • Install hail protection nets or canopies. If you live in an area that is particularly prone to hailstorms, consider purchasing a tested hail net or canopy system to keep your inventory safe through the season. For added protection, look for one that has covered sides or can be zipped closed.
  • Store vehicle inventory indoors. If a storm is approaching, park all high-valued vehicles inside the dealership building, utilizing any space available. Park vehicles closely spaced within the showroom, drive-through, and service shop, stacking vehicles with the use of the hoists. This should be practiced prior to hail season so all employees are aware of their duties and responsibilities in the event of a hailstorm.

Other tips to mitigate damage of outdoor vehicle inventory

  • Use buildings as protection. Determine which direction the wind is blowing and how nearby buildings could offer protection for vehicles parked outside. If the wind is strong and the hail pellets are blowing heavily in one direction, determine which side of the building is getting hit the hardest, then park as many vehicles as possible on the opposite side of the building, as close to the wall as possible. 
  • Fitted car covers. Purchase vehicle-specific or generic protective covers designed to shield vehicles from the elements. Some companies make car covers specifically constructed to prevent hail damage.
  • Cover your vehicles with materials on hand. Thick blankets, comforters, tarpaulins, or even vehicle floor mats can be used to protect your vehicle inventory from serious hail damage. Use duct tape or ropes to secure your car’s makeshift jacket until the storm has passed.
  • Park vehicles away from trees or power lines. These items might fall or be blown onto your building or be thrown into vehicles during a hailstorm. It is recommended to trim dead branches and cut down dead trees on a regular basis.
  • Secure potential flying objects. If a severe storm is forecast, secure everything that might be blown around or torn loose — indoors and outdoors. Flying objects such as garbage cans and lawn furniture can injure people and damage property.

Dealership hail protection is key for preserving inventory, maintaining a positive reputation, minimizing insurance claims, ensuring business continuity, enhancing customer satisfaction, achieving cost savings, and considering environmental impacts. By prioritizing hail protection, dealerships can mitigate the risks associated with hailstorms and create a more resilient and successful business.


As always, please contact your broker or Marsh Advisory representative if you have any questions or concerns.